Rediscovering North­wood’s ‘Lost town of Man­go­nia’

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Central Palm Beach County - - Front Page - Eliot Kleinberg Post Time ek­lein­berg@pb­post.com Twit­ter: @eliotkpbp

Read­ers: El­bridge Gale wasn’t in Kansas any­more. The min­is­ter, ed­u­ca­tor and pro­fes­sor of hor­ti­cul­ture from the Great Plains had re­tired in Novem­ber 1884 and moved with his wife to prop­erty along the In­tra­coastal Water­way.

Soon he’d de­vel­oped a farm grow­ing not wheat or soy­beans but man­goes. And given his place an ap­pro­pri­ate name: Man­go­nia.

But this is not the Man­go­nia that’s now the town of Man­go­nia Park. This is an area about 2 miles south of that, in West Palm Beach’s North­wood neigh­bor­hood.

Now the North­wood Shores Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion is push­ing for a his­tor­i­cal marker for “the lost town of Man­go­nia,” ac­cord­ing to its pres­i­dent, Carl Flick, who’s also a lo­cal ur­ban planner and his­toric preser­va­tion ad­vo­cate.

Here’s more from Carl and from our ar­chives:

When Gale got to what then was called the re­gion, he was the first on the main­land to build a cabin. It’s be­lieved some or all of the orig­i­nal cabin is in the ex­ist­ing struc­ture of the Gale house, at 401 29th St.

At the site, Gale de­vel­oped what is be­lieved to be the na­tion’s first fruit­bear­ing, grafted West In­dian mango tree.

“To­day, about 80 per­cent of the world’s com­mer­cial man­goes (even in China and In­dia) trace their roots back to the orig­i­nal va­ri­ety de­vel­oped here in North­wood,” Flick wrote. Gale died in 1907. Per­haps more fa­mous, al­beit for a brief stay, is Gale’s daugh­ter, Hat­tie. She was all of 16, younger than some of her charges, when the school we now re­fer to as the Lit­tle Red School­house opened in March 1886.

Hat­tie, who ar­rived in 1885, taught for only three months be­fore the area hired a teacher for $100. She re­turned to Kansas State, where she fin­ished her ed­u­ca­tion. She also met Kansas State fac­ulty mem­ber Wil­liam Henry San­ders at a Man­hat­tan, Kansas, train sta­tion in 1887. They moved that year to Lake Worth and mar­ried on Aug. 24, 1890. She was 20.

Hat­tie taught in the Man­go­nia neigh­bor­hood. Her hus­band worked as an en­gi­neer on a tug help­ing build the Over- seas Rail­road. A 1906 storm drove it out to sea and sank it; sev­eral men drowned, but San­ders sur­vived. The cou­ple even­tu­ally re­tired to Cen­tral Florida, and Hat­tie died in In­ver­ness, north of Tampa, on Aug. 1, 1955.

The cou­ple had sev­eral chil­dren, but only one was still liv­ing when San­ders died Sept. 18, 1967, in St. Joseph, Mo. San­ders’ sis­ter, Su­san, mar­ried Harry DuBois. Their 1898 home, be­lieved to be the sec­ond-old­est in the county, is now the DuBois Pi­o­neer Home Mu­seum. She died in 1977 at 101. Her son, John R., mar­ried Jupiter pi­o­neer and his­to­rian Bessie DuBois. That made Bessie Hat­tie’s niece by mar­riage.

Next Week: The lost town of Man­go­nia. Sub­mit your ques­tions to Post Time, The Palm Beach Post, 2751 S. Dixie High­way, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. In­clude your full name and home­town. Call 561-8204418. EK@pb­post.com. Sorry; no per­sonal replies.

COURTESY OF CARL FLICK

The North­wood Shores Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion is push­ing for a his­tor­i­cal marker for the lost town of Man­go­nia.

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